02 May Clarity: Yoga And Meditation As Therapy
Like focus, clearing the mind of unhelpful, unconscious patterns is something we can work on. Yoga and meditation, if practiced correctly, can help us clear our minds and see things more clearly so we can respond more openly from a space of truth and honesty rather than simply reacting without thinking and acting out our old habit patterns.
It is not enough to cultivate focus and concentration if underneath the focus we are a mass of neuroses. Whenever we step onto our floating mats, we enter a space where how we act and what we think and feel about others and ourselves is magnified and mirrored back to us.
The practice itself is neutral, but it will show very clearly what our patterns are. For example, if we tend to push ourselves too hard, always give up, become competitive, blame other people or get jealous, then our practice will show up these traits. How we react during our practice is probably how we react in the rest of our lives.
Once we have noticed our pattern, we then have the option to recognize it, admit it and deal with it. We can try to find a middle ground where we respond to challenges in a way that is healthy and productive. This means trying, but not too hard. In the yoga posture we find our appropriate edge and then relax and allow change to happen.
This is close to the yogic ideal of Upeksha, or Equanimity. It’s not that we are no longer passionate about life, or don’t feel things strongly anymore, but we have the choice about how to act on these emotions and issues.
It is really about learning to listen to our inner voice, our intuition. What is right for us? If we can learn to listen during our yoga practice, then maybe we can learn to listen in the rest of our lives.